JetBlue Plus Card Review: Is It Worth the Annual Fee?
The JetBlue Plus Card is an airline rewards credit card providing excellent rewards rates on JetBlue purchases as well as double miles on purchases you make at restaurants and grocery stores.
The card is unique in that it’s the only major credit card offering a 6x bonus as well as an additional bonus for restaurants and grocery stores. As we’ll point out in a few minutes, these spending categories can be pretty lucrative.
In this review of the JetBlue Plus card, we will analyze how its rewards work and which additional benefits you get, how much its rates and fees are, and how it compares to other airline rewards cards.
We’ll finish up with a section about the card’s general pros and cons, as well as who we think it’s good for.
Pros: Its yearly points can produce up to three free round-trip flights per year. Also comes with a 40,000-point sign-up bonus, 50% in-flight discount and 5,000 free points each year.
Cons: Cardmembers don’t get priority boarding as they do with cards from United, Delta, and American Airlines.
Estimated Yearly Travel Rewards: 42,428 points
|Sign-Up Bonus||Annual Fee||Regular APR|
|40,000 points||$99||17.74%, 21.74% or 26.74%|
|Rewards Rate: 6x on JetBlue purchases, 2x for groceries and dining, 1x on everything else|
Whenever you use your JetBlue Plus card to make a purchase, Barclays (the card issuer) calculates a certain number of TrueBlue points for your purchase depending on what you buy.
They keep track of those TrueBlue points and, at the end of your billing period, they send those points to your “TrueBlue” account, which is JetBlue’s frequent flyer account. If you don’t have a TrueBlue account when you sign up for the card, JetBlue will set one up for you.
The card has three different rewards rates:
- 6x points on JetBlue purchases
- 2x points on restaurants and groceries
- 1x points on everything else
You’ll get your biggest bonus when you use your card to make JetBlue purchases. We sifted through the fine print and found that the following types of purchases get the 6x bonus:
- JetBlue reservations line
- JetBlue Vacations
- JetBlue airport counters
The fine print went on to say that any car rentals or hotel reservations you purchase with your card through JetBlue.com won’t earn the 6x bonus. Also, if you use your JetBlue card to buy TrueBlue points from JetBlue, you won’t earn the 6x bonus.
Practically speaking, if you spend $1,000 on a plane ticket on JetBlue.com, you’ll earn 6,000 TrueBlue points. As we’ll show in our comparison section, this bonus rate far exceeds any other major airline card.
Just as the 6x bonus on JetBlue purchases is the highest of its kind among popular airline cards, the JetBlue Plus Card’s 2x bonus on restaurants and grocery stores is the highest, too.
What makes this particular bonus so powerful is that groceries and restaurants are two of the highest-spending categories for American households.
Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we believe the 2x bonus will earn you 15,456 TrueBlue points. All other purchases you make will earn a 1x bonus.
In total, we believe this card can earn you 42,248 TrueBlue points per year which, according to our research, is the highest yearly rewards total of any major airline rewards card.
We did some quick research about how far those points can get you by checking out how many points JetBlue charges for the three most popular U.S. flight routes. Here are the results for Friday-to-Sunday round-trip flights:
- New York to Los Angeles: 15,800 TrueBlue points
- Los Angeles to San Francisco: 23,400 TrueBlue points
- New York to Chicago: 12,800 TrueBlue points
Aside from the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco flight, JetBlue offers the lowest rewards flights we’ve found in our research of all the popular major airlines (United, Delta, American, Southwest, Frontier).
Your yearly point total of 42,248 can pay for two round-trip cross-country flights and a one-way ticket for another round-trip flight. If you fly shorter routes like New York to Chicago, we believe you can get three free flights a year.
No other card we’ve researched has the potential to give you three free flights a year on a mid-range flight like New York to Chicago.
Now, the first year you own your JetBlue Plus card you can earn an additional 40,000 TrueBlue points if you can spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of owning the card. This is an easy threshold to hit for almost everyone.
So, at the end of the first year, you could have as many as 82,000 points. This excellent point total has even more value considering the affordable points prices on JetBlue rewards flights. It’s possible you could get six free round-trip flights between New York and Chicago with that point total.
Pro tip: It will take between four to six weeks for your 40,000-point sign-up bonus to arrive in your TrueBlue account once you hit the spending limit.
In addition to rewards points, airline credit cards typically provide multiple flight- or travel-related perks that boost your travel experience and/or give you discounts.
The JetBlue Plus Card has the following benefits:
- Free first checked bag
- 5,000-point yearly bonus
- Mosaic status
- Annual $100 statement credit for JetBlue Vacation purchases
- 50% bonuses on in-flight cocktail and food purchases
Like other airline cards with similar annual fees, the JetBlue Plus gives you a free first checked bag. Also, they extend that benefit to up to three other people on your booking.
JetBlue will automatically deposit your anniversary points within four to six weeks of your cardmember anniversary. So, if your anniversary is July 1, you should see your points show up by August 15.
“Mosaic” refers to JetBlue’s upgraded TrueBlue experience. This benefit is yours if you can spend $50,000 a year with your JetBlue Plus Card. Based on the household averages we’ve seen in our research, this perk will be out of reach for most people.
If you hit that spending requirement, though, you’ll get the following benefits:
- Free flight changes and cancellations
- First and second checked bags are free
- Cheaper prices on seat upgrades you buy with points
- Expedited airport security check-in
- Priority boarding
- Free onboard alcoholic beverages
In our opinion, these are excellent benefits that you don’t see with other cards. You won’t find expedited security and free booze on other airline cards with annual fees under $100.
The $100 credit pertains to any JetBlue Vacation package purchases. These are travel packages you by through JetBlue.
The fine print says your purchase has to be at least $100, that it will take about six to eight weeks for the $100 credit to appear and that you get the credit once a year.
The final benefit you get with the card is a 50% discount on food and drink purchases on JetBlue flights. Barclays automatically recognizes these charges and will give you a credit on your statement equal to 50% of your in-flight purchases.
The 50% credit does not apply to pillow, earphone or seat upgrades you purchase before or during your flight.
We believe the JetBlue Plus Card is an incredible rewards card because of the number of free flights you can earn each year. These free flights represent around $1,100 in value, according to the average price of a round trip flight in the U.S.
While that’s an impressive dollar amount, you can rack up the same amount in interest payments if you’re not careful. We’ll explain that in a minute.
For now, here’s a list of the JetBlue Plus Card’s rates and fees:
- Interest rate for purchases and balance transfers: 17.74%, 21.74% or 26.74%
- Interest rate for cash advances: 26.99%
- Penalty interest rate: None
- Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3%, whichever is greater
- Cash advance fee: $10 or 5%, whichever is greater
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Late/returned payment fee: Up to $37
- Annual fee: $99
We want to focus on the interest rates the card offers because they will cost you a lot of money if you aren’t careful. Based on our research, we believe the average consumer who uses a credit card on regularly will carry a balance.
What this means is that you don’t pay off your credit card in full every month. If you have any unpaid transactions, Barclays will apply an interest rate based on your credit scores. The higher the scores, the lower the rate and vice versa.
The following chart shows you how much each rate will cost you per year based on five different average daily balances:
17.74% APR for one year
21.74% APR for one year
26.74% APR for one year
|$1,000 daily balance||$177.40||$217.40||$267.40|
|$2,000 daily balance||$354.80||$434.80||$534.80|
|$3,000 daily balance||$532.20||$652.20||$802.20|
|$4,000 daily balance||$709.60||$869.60||$1,069.60|
|$5,000 daily balance||$887.00||$1,087.00||$1,337.40|
As you can see, carrying a $5,000 balance for one year at 21.74% will cost you around as much as you’ll save booking three round-trip flights with the points you earn each year.
Our advice is to pay your balance in full each month. If you find yourself building a balance because you’re spending more than you make, take a few hours to create a budget. This will help you understand how much money is coming in and where you’re spending all the money that’s causing balances.
In most cases, a card’s interest rates present some danger because they can be expensive if you carry a balance. This card has one interest rate that can be helpful, though.
The card will give you 12 months of 0% interest on any balances you transfer in the first 45 days of owning the card. You’ll pay a 3% fee for making the transfer. So, if you send a $5,000 balance from another card to this one, you will pay $150.
Despite the fee, balance transfers can be a huge help. Consider the chart above. If you have a $5,000 balance on a card with a 22.24% interest rate, one year of interest will cost you more than $1,000.
If you transfer that balance to your JetBlue card, you can avoid the interest for 12 months. Keep in mind, though, that it will take a week or so for the transfer to go through. Also, you have the option of entering the balance transfer information while you fill out your application.
We believe this is the smart choice to make if you know you’re going to transfer the balance. The quicker you can move the money to you 0% card, the less you’ll have to pay in interest.
The following chart is an in-depth comparison of the JetBlue Plus to six other popular airline credit cards:
|JetBlue Plus||United Explorer Card||AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard||Frontier Airlines World Mastercard||Gold Delta SkyMiles Card||Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card||Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard|
|Sign-up bonus||40,000 points||40,000 miles||60,000 miles||40,000 miles||35,000 miles/$50 statement credit||40,000 points||50,000 miles|
|Yearly miles/points on $30,000 spending||42,428||35,045||31,000||40,730||31,000||31,000||36,420|
|Number of free bags||1||1||1||None||1||2||1|
|Global Entry/TSA PreCheck||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No|
|In-flight discounts||50%||25%||$25 per year||No||20%||No||25%|
|Annual fee||$99||$0 first year/$95 after||$99||$79||$0 first/$95 after||$99||$0 first year/$99 after|
|APR||17.74%, 21.74% or 26.74%||18.24% to 25.24%||18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24%||18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24%||17.99% to 26.99%||18.24% to 25.24%||18.24% to 26.24%|
Much of what makes an airline card great is what lies in its rewards and benefits. In those categories, we believe the JetBlue is best in rewards and middle of the pack in benefits.
For example, the card’s 42,428 yearly points are the best of all the cards in the group. The Frontier Airlines World Mastercard is the only other card that cracks the 40,000-point mark. However, the airline’s flights typically cost 40,000 points, devaluing its yearly rewards.
However, the card isn’t quite as strong when it comes to benefits. For example, the United Explorer Card gives you a free first bag and priority check-in. The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard has the same benefit, as does the Gold Delta SkyMiles.
The JetBlue card gives you priority boarding, but only if you spend $50,000 a year. As we mentioned earlier, we think this spending requirement is out of reach for most people.
As for the rest of the comparisons, we think the JetBlue Plus is slightly above average. It offers the best in-flight discounts but fails to waive your annual fee the first year.
Its interest rate is average and identical to Barclay’s other airline cards: the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard and the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard.
Based on our research, we believe that the JetBlue Plus Card is an excellent fit for you if you’re looking for a card that gives you enough rewards for multiple free flights every year.
No other card in our chart can match the JetBlue Plus in yearly points and flight costs.
In our opinion, the JetBlue card’s greatest strength is that it gives you the most yearly points of any major airline rewards. Coupled with the low number of points required for popular routes, the card offers tremendous value for budget-conscious travelers.
Furthermore, one of the bonuses of JetBlue we haven’t mentioned is that they are a perennial top-three airline for customer service. This is a great added perk on travel days, as the airline has complimentary in-flight entertainment, drinks, and snacks.
So, while the card’s main downside is that it doesn’t offer priority boarding like many of the leading cards do, your passenger experience may be good enough to counteract that drawback.
With all this in mind, we believe the JetBlue Plus Card is an excellent fit for you if you want multiple free flights each year on an airline with an excellent reputation.
The card’s bonuses for JetBlue, grocery and restaurant purchases are excellent. Other cards cannot match it, which is why we believe it’s one of the best airline rewards cards available.